Last week I got an unexpected invitation to be a part of an article for Buzzfeed with the Women’s Strength Coalition. I had no plans to do this but I love the message and mission of the Women’s Strength Coalition, and I’m also always excited to share my love of powerlifting with the world.
I was pretty excited to be a part of it. So what’s the only natural thing to do when something exciting comes up? Tell your besties obviously.
I waited until Monday to tell one of my work besties, whom for the sake of the article, we will call Richard. In case you’re wondering why I chose the name Richard, it’s simple; he was acting like a real dick this day. I’m protecting his identity because I don’t want anyone sending him hate mail (jk…well kinda).
He’s actually a decent guy. I mean I did say that he’s one of my besties. It’s just that sometimes he doesn’t recognize his own patriarchy and misogyny. However, the thing I appreciate about him is that he’s always open to having the deep, messy conversations around these things even when he misses the mark.
After I told him my good news, he was super excited for me as I expected he would be. But then, the conversation took an interesting turn. I downloaded our Microsoft Lync conversation because I couldn’t afford to forgot this one.
Richard: is your body ready for a photoshoot?
Me: Wow. Is that a real question you are asking me?
Richard: Well, I’m just asking.
Me: Ohhhh…so this is really happening right now?? You just saw me last week so I think you’re trying to insinuate that you don’t think I’m “photoshoot ready.” But I’m just going to ignore that. That’s not even the problem here. Your opinion of my body is irrelevant because my body and how it looks is quite literally none of your damn business.
Richard: Settle please. I’m just gonna shut up. I don’t want feminist Chrissy to come out.
Me: Don’t tell me settle. And for the record, feminist Chrissy is always here. Please explain to me, how exactly is one’s body “photoshoot” ready?
Richard: Nope. Not answering. This is going nowhere good.
Me: No please answer. You asked the question so explain to me how this works.
Richard: Oh look at the time. I leave in 2 hours…gotta get ready to shut down.
Me: Answer the question, Richard.
Richard: You know like is your body is tight (don’t take it the wrong way).
Me: Really Richard? Really??
Richard: I’m an asshole.
Me: Finally we agree on something.
We didn’t actually end the conversation on that note. We went on to dissect all the problems with this conversation (there were many), but this is the part I wanted to share.
Here’s one of the main things I made crystal clear: “Boooyyyyyyyyyyy……..let’s get one thing straight…my body is always photoshoot ready.”
I don’t say that my body is always photoshoot ready because my body is always “tight” (whatever that even means). In fact, I have stretch marks, my thighs are currently thicker than a snicker, I have cellulite, and my stomach is far from flat.
I say it because the truth of the matter is as long as I am able to show up for the shoot, then I’m “photoshoot ready.”
The notion that only certain bodies or body types are worthy of being photographed is ludicrous. The notion I should diet down or lose body fat to be worthy of doing a photoshoot is ludicrous. The idea that the first thing I should consider when presented with an opportunity would revolve around my weight or how “tight” my body looks is ludicrous.
Society feeds women this bullshit narrative that we need to be constantly consumed with our looks and with shrinking our bodies because obviously that’s the only value we have to add to the world. We should be “toned” but not too muscular. We should be thin, but not too thin. We should have curves, but not too many. We should be pretty, but not be too confident about it. We should be dress attractively, but not too sexy. We should have a voice, but only as long as it doesn’t make other people uncomfortable. We should be confident in ourselves, but not declare that too loudly because we still need to appear humble. We should be independent, but not too independent because some men don’t appreciate that quality in a woman.”
I’m giving that narrative the middle finger. We are not here to shrink or constantly second guess ourselves. Our value or worthiness is not attached to the size of our waistlines. I’ve got bigger shit to focus on than picking myself apart in the mirror or wondering if I’m “photoshoot ready.” I’ve got magic to make in the world. I can’t do that if the first thought on my mind each day is focused on wondering if I look good enough to show up for whatever it is I need to do.
The only thing you and I should do is whatever feels good for us personally. It’s no one else’s choice but our own. We get to choose how we show up in the world.
We decide if our bodies are “photoshop ready.” This is not even on the table for discussion. No one gets to ask me that. I personally dislike that statement altogether. I would prefer the entire statement be eradicated because quite frankly, I’m tired of the conversation being about evaluating women based on how we look. Serena Williams is the most talented tennis player the world has ever seen, and yet, people are still discussing her body and her looks instead of her raw, unprecedented talent.
We are more than our bodies. We are more than a pretty face. Our value is not predicated on either of these things.
My body is not up for discussion. It’s my body, and my business. Period.
I’m a world changer, and I’m leaving my mark. That mark is not in the least bit based on what I look like, how “tight” my body is, or shrinking in size or voice. I intend to step into my full power each and every day.
My body is always “photoshoot ready” and so is yours. Everyone’s body is worthy of being photographed, regardless of size or shape. The world needs to see representations of all different body types, not just the “tight” ones.
So I won’t “settle.” I’m going to keep showing up every single day and using my voice because it matters, and the world needs to hear it what I have to say.
And in case you were wondering, I crushed the photoshoot, “untight” body and all so #boybye.
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